We begin today is meditation with a few sipping exercises to remind us a little treat can go a long way.
So pick up your McCarthyist coffees, close your eyes and deep sip in. And deep satisfaction out, I take a treat retreat at McDonald's right now, get him a coffee, iced coffee and any size and any flavor for just 99 cents until 11:00 a.m., price of participation may vary.
Certain scale contains adult themes and violence and is not intended for all audiences. Listener discretion is advised.
And he slipped down in the blood on the floor and I knelt down, I level to him, I yelled, you motherfucker. And I looked him in the eye and I slit his throat. Hey, this is Season seven, episode 175 of Sword and Scale, a show that reveals that the worst monsters, a real. But we're getting dangerously close to the end of the season here. We're going to be eight years in, believe it or not.
Actually, we already are eight years in. It's absolutely unbelievable that that's the case. But it's true. We're starting our eighth season in January. In the meantime, we have one more regular episode coming out, episode one seventy six. And then we're taking a break. Of course, there will be a plus episode after that. So if you're a plus member, there will be a final episode on December 20th and then we'll be back. We'll be back real early in the year, starting January 3rd on plus and January 10th on the regular feed.
So don't worry, we won't be gone that long. In the meantime, if you haven't heard about us, please check it out. If you're a fan of the show, it starts at just five bucks a month. We have native iOS and Android apps available for you. It's the best way to listen to certain scale and you get all the plus episodes. A lot of people don't even know this, but we have over 80 plus episodes available for either an hour in length, usually full length episodes, just like the regular show.
But you won't hear them anywhere else I subscribe to. Plus, starting at just five bucks a month at sort and scale dot com slash plus and help a brother out. All right. I think you're going enjoy this one. You know, those episodes that are twisty and turny and you don't know which way they're going and then they slap in the face with an M. Night Shyamalan twist. This is going to be one of them, so hold your butts real tight, open, palm them, if you will, and let's go.
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On the morning of June 14, 2012, forty six year old New Jersey man Clarke Fredrik's woke up to a blinding light. And a brain piercing, confused days, he thought to himself. My God, Clark, you've finally done it. Having been abusing drugs and alcohol around the clock for months, he was convinced that he had a stroke or a heart attack in the middle of the night, and now he had gone blind to calm himself. Clark took a deep breath and closed his eyes.
When he opened them, the blinding light was still there, so he raised his arm to shield his face and in the process he cracked himself in the head with the hard, rigid caste that was wrapped around his head. The blow to the head must have knocked something loose because his vision started to return and along with it, an uneasy feeling washing over him. Clark looked down at the bedroom floor, expecting to see the familiar old carpet, but there was no carpet.
This floor was now dirty, speckled linoleum. He thought to himself, this isn't making any sense. Clark surveyed the room. The painted sheetrock that normally surrounded him was gone. Now his walls were cold, concrete blocks and his bedroom door was no longer varnished wood. Instead, it was made of steel audit. A narrow sliver of a window ran barely two feet long. Most confusing of all, in the corner of a ceiling, a camera pointed directly out of its slow blinking red light suggested that someone was watching his every move.
Then Clark looked down at himself. He was not in his own bed. He was lying on a metal cot dressed in an orange jumpsuit like a wave rolling to shore. Clark's memory started coming back. He remembered what had happened the day before and he knew where he was. County jail locked in a cell on suicide watch with the threat of life in prison looming over him. As he sat up, the cast on his arm, reminded him of the surgery he'd had the night before to repair the severed ligaments and tendons in his left hand, and then he noticed that someone had scrawled words on a nearby wall that read, quote, Kill me.
I just want to die. This was a sentiment that Clark shared with the unknown author. Clark looked down at his injured hand and noticed that the prison guards had forgotten to take away the medical sling that went with his cast. Then he looked at the air vent on the wall and realized that this was his chance, a chance to end all the pain. If you could just find a way to fasten the sling to the air vent and connect it to his own neck.
It would all be over. Clark staggered to his feet as he prepared to end his own life. He asked himself, How did I get here? What could I have done differently to save myself from ending up in this horrible place? The small, sleepy town of Stillwater, New Jersey, is the opposite of what most people think of when they think of New Jersey, only an hour drive from Newark International Airport in about 90 minutes from New York City.
This rural farm town offers its nearly four thousand one hundred residents a quiet backwoods lifestyle, hiking, boating, fishing, camping and lake swimming, or a few of the activities that Stillwater residents enjoy.
There are even a significant subgroup of this community that takes pride in their pickup trucks, listens to Kenny Rogers, goes deer hunting, watches professional wrestling and spits tobacco, a small community of country folk nestled in the shadow of the most famous city in the world store.
New Jersey is a town in the northwest corner of the state in Sussex County. It's predominantly a very rural area. You still have some commuters that head east towards the city every day. They braved the traffic, but by and large, it's like a very peaceful, small community where everybody knows everybody else.
This is how Ryan, a retired New Jersey State Police crime scene investigator. And he's right. Stillwater is peaceful.
So peaceful, in fact, that it doesn't even have a police department. All reported crime in the area is handled by the state police.
When you have the occasion to be called up here to investigate a violent crime or a murder, it's rare. It's very rare. And it's also big news because it just doesn't happen very often.
While violent crime and murder are extremely rare in the small town of Stillwater, it does unfortunately still happen. And on the morning of June 13th, 2012, Lieutenant Ryan and his team of investigators would be called to the scene of a homicide in this otherwise peaceful little town.
When I arrived at the residence, it was just like any other crime scene. There's uniformed officers out front. There's detectives milling around, starting to exchange notes. One of my detectives was there before my arrival and he met me in the driveway. And together we walked up and the first thing I remember was looking at the front door. There was a screen door and the screen door had been propped open. A lot of doors have that retractable kind of air sprocket and you can slide a metal piece over to open the door.
And one of the first things I remember was that door was open, but that sprocket, which was on the top of the door and was covered in blood in addition to the blood covered door sprocket, there were also large droplets of blood on the front porch and bloody footprints leading away from the home as we rounded the corner to look into the door.
It wasn't a very big home. The victim was laying on the floor between a chair, like a recliner chair timesharing and the television, which was still on. It looked as if he was wearing a bathrobe and there was a substantial amount of blood at this point in his career.
Lieutenant Ryan had been investigating crime scenes for more than 16 years and had worked in at least 100 homicide cases. This wasn't the first time he'd walked into a house full of blood spatter. But there was something especially interesting about this particular crime scene.
We did a lot of teaching a crime scene as well. Crime scene was one of the things we always tell people is when you walk into a crime scene, your obvious first reaction is this. Human nature is to notice what is there? OK, there's blood, there's a victim. There's this. There's that. The other thing that we have to tell people sometimes is try to make note of what is not there and what was not.
There was any sign of disturbance aside from the dead body on the floor.
Of course, there was nothing in the house touched. It was immediately noticeable that there was nothing anywhere that was out of place. Whatever happened, somebody came through the front door, went right to this individual, killed them and left.
For Lieutenant Ryan, it was immediately apparent that whoever came into this house the night before had one purpose in mind to kill. And there was something else.
As we looked over the body a little further, we wanted to look at the wounds specifically.
The victim had been stabbed more than 20 times, mostly in the chest. And there was another wound that was very telling.
In addition to multiple puncture wounds to the chest, there had been an incision across the neck. And I had seen this many times before.
This one one thing I noticed immediately about this was the depth the individual had been cut very deep, almost down to the bone, meaning the spine, the spine, deep incision to the victim's neck and the otherwise undisturbed home were clues that indicated something important about this murder in years of doing crime scene work.
When you see something like this where nothing else in the house is touched, that there's nothing search, nothing appears to be stolen or missing, you can't help thinking without knowing who did this. This is personal. And I remember saying to one of the other detectives there said whoever came through the door came for him.
So who was him? Who was the dead victim on the floor?
I looked closely at the wounds at first. And then as we looked to see the face of the victim, I recognized her face, the. That Lieutenant Ryan recognized was that a 68 year old retired police lieutenant Dennis Pegg, Dennis Payne, was employed by the Sussex County Sheriff's Office and he rose in his career to the rank of lieutenant.
He worked in the jail. I didn't know him personally, but I have seen him many, many times. But he seemed to have had a very good career in law enforcement within the corrections community before he retired, probably up to 25 years.
In addition to being a respected former police lieutenant, Dennis Pegg was also a beloved member of the Stillwater community and was a longtime resident of the area he'd been involved in and really quite a few things in his life and in his career and by all accounts, in the eyes of so many people in the community. He was just this star citizen. He volunteered with children extensively right in the northwestern corner of the state. We have a section of the Appalachian Trail that runs through a very, very short section.
But he was involved in that in something called a trail angel, where they would maintain the trail. He was involved in birdwatching societies and the Audubon Society, things of that nature. He was also involved in the town's historical documentary society. It seemed like everybody that was a lifelong resident up here knew Dennis Payne. They called him Danny, Danny Kaye and a lot of people's eyes, a pillar of a community. And they always spoke very highly of him, despite his many contributions and prominent role in the community.
Someone clearly had it in for good old Danny Peg. And it was now the job of Lieutenant Ryan and the New Jersey State Police to find out who had brutally murdered him and why.
Earlier that same morning, just a few hours before police were discovered, Dennis's body, 49 year old Holly Sellitto, had a worrying phone conversation with her mother, who lived in Stillwater.
I spoke to my mother every single morning and I called her that morning just checking in. And she was not herself. And I could tell something was terribly wrong. And I said, Mom, what is wrong? And she's like, just get up here right away. And I go, is something wrong with you? And she goes, get out of here right away. I don't want to talk on the phone. So I jumped to my car and I drove up to my mother's house.
For most of us, this would be a very alarming phone call. Imagine your mother indicated that something awful had happened. And no matter how hard you pressed her, she refused to talk about it on the phone like many of us would. Holly hurried to her mother's home as her mind raced with every conceivable and terrifying possibility.
So I arrived at my mother's house and I could tell she was very, very distraught, not herself at all. And she said, come out on the deck, I want to talk to you. So she brought me out onto the deck and she said, your brother killed Dennis Peck last night.
Learning that your sibling had killed someone is bad enough. But for Holly, it was even worse. Just like everyone else in Stillwater. She knew Dennis Pegg.
So what I remember Dennis, I guess Kyle is he was a family friend. He was over at our house for meals. He befriended my parents. Even at one time he had had a car accident and he wound up staying at our house until he got back on his feet.
Pretend that your mother has just told you that your brother or sister has murdered a friend of the family, a friend that also happened to be a retired police officer. What would you do? Would you turn them in right away or try to protect them and agree to keep their crime secret?
So after my mother had the conversation on the deck, she said, I want to show you your brother. And he was sound asleep. And I could tell his hand was cut very, very badly. And I told my mother, I know he needs to seek medical attention. And she said, absolutely not. We're not going to the hospital. And I said, I am not going to be part of any of this. This is majorly severe and this is a crime scene.
And I'm not going to be privy to this at this point.
Holly would leave her mother's home and call someone she trusted. Diane, how Diane was Holly's holistic healer and spiritual counselor. And over the phone, Holly explained to Diane that her brother killed Dennis Peck and that she was on her way to Diane's store.
So when I arrived at Diane's store, she said, we need to call the police and just do a wellness check because maybe, maybe he didn't kill them. And at least if he's still alive, we get him seeking medical attention. So Diane had placed the call to the police and asked them to do a wellness check on Dennis.
Unfortunately, Dennis was dead and it was this call that would lead police to the body. Naturally, after their discovery, police had some questions for Diane.
They called Diane back and wanted to know how she knew you. A wellness check.
Diane had little choice but to tell police what Holly had told her and she would give them Holly's brother's name, Clark Fredriks. The time went by on this job.
The name surfaced. The individual that was potentially involved in this was a gentleman by the name of Clark Fredericks. Fredericks was a name that most of us knew Clark family in the area. And although I do not know Clark, I did know his brother.
Like Dennis Peg, the Fredriks family had a good reputation in the town of Stillwater. And for police, it came as a shock that anyone in that family could be involved in a murder. Nonetheless, after speaking with Diane and learning that Holly's brother was potentially the killer, the New Jersey State Police made the short drive from Dennis Pegg's home to the Frederik's residence.
I knew that the family had lived close by as the crew headed over there to see if he was home. We did not know whether or not he had weapons, so there was a perimeter set up and they ordered him out of the house. I asked him to come out and show his hands. There was weapons pointed at him as he exited the house. You said to put his hands up and he complied. He complied with everything they said. They put him on the ground.
They took him into custody without any. And they brought him to the state police barracks in Sussex, New Jersey, not long after Clarke was in custody. He exercised his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and refused to speak with police. He did, however, make one admission while being arrested. He told an officer that Denis Pegg, quote, got what was coming to him. But otherwise, Clarke didn't say a thing. We're a little bit anxious to find out what the hell's going on, what would trigger him to do this?
This was the million dollar question. Why would Clark Frederik's murder family friend, Dennis Pegg, who even was Clark Fredriks Clark was he was very sick when he was young.
He was born with a hole in his heart and he had open heart surgery when he was six years old. And that was a very traumatic for our family because doing a major open heart surgery, especially having a child, it was a big deal. It's become much more commonplace now. But back then, in the 60s, it was a very big operation. So he came home. He seemed to be doing quite all right. And I just noticed as Clark got older, he tests, I don't know, something changed within him and he just could not find his niche in life.
Being a sister, Holly understandably talks about her brother with kid gloves. But if we're going to be honest, cause problems went far beyond being able to find his niche in life. In high school, Clark didn't perform poorly, but he also didn't excel while maintaining a C average, he spent a lot of his free time smoking weed and drinking. Clark graduated from Kitney Regional High School in nineteen eighty four, and during the summer before his freshman year at college, he was arrested for drinking and driving.
Clark studied business at Northeastern University in Boston. There he discovered a love for cocaine and spent his weekends and holidays as a blackout drunk during his alcohol and drug abuse. Clark did graduate in 1989, and after earning his business degree, he returned home to the little town of Stillwater when he graduated college.
He lived at home with my mother and father, and I was married with children and he just couldn't seem to find a lasting relationship. And as time went on, he just kept getting angrier and angrier. And it just seemed like, you know, towards the end, he was totally spiraling out of control. Never knew why he was in such a spiral.
After college, Clark did spiral badly.
Through much of his remaining 20s, Clark went unemployed and in his 30s, he began working at his brother's automotive center, repairing and installing 18 wheeler truck and loader tires. Clark would remain at this job for 16 years. So much for that pricey business degree. While working for his brother, Clark bought himself a Harley Davidson motorcycle and hooked up with like minded bikers in Sussex County, New Jersey. Biker gangs are more prominent than you might expect.
And while this isn't always the case, the culture of these gangs can often involve illegal drugs, strip clubs and a whole lot of alcohol abuse.
And it was this culture that Clark chose to associate with through his 30s.
In his 40s, things only got worse as Clark developed a pain pill. Addiction began using heroin and eventually walked away from his brother's automotive center. At age 46 and at the time of his arrest, he was living at his mother's house. Now Clark sat in a holding cell charged with the murder of a retired police lieutenant, and he was refusing to speak with investigators, unable to get answers from him about what had happened and why he might have murdered Dennis Peg.
Police turned to Clark's sister, Holly, and his mother, Joanne Fredriks.
So then I was brought down to the state police and they interviewed me. They wanted to know what I knew about what happened. And I basically just told them the story. Then my mother called me in the morning and then told me what happened. And my mother, when she was interviewed, she had mentioned that Clark was with Reynolds. She thought that he was an accomplice with Clark.
Forty seven year old Bob Reynolds was a known friend of Clark's. And after learning from Clark's mother that Reynolds was possibly an accomplice to the murder, police brought him in for questioning.
After some initial push back, Reynolds rolled over and helped to paint a clearer picture of what had happened at Dennis Pegg's home. He would tell police that he met up with Clark the night before and Clark had told him that Dennis Pegg was number one on Clark's hit list.
Reynolds would go on to tell police that together they drove to his home. And when they arrived, Clark attacked Dennis, stabbing him with a hunting knife several times before eventually slit his throat.
At this point, police had collected a lot of evidence against Clark. They had his own admission that Dennis got what he had coming to him. They had his mother's statement and now they had a witness to the murder and Bob Reynolds. But the question remained, why? Why would Clark do this? To understand the motive in this crime, you need to know a little more about Clark and his relationship with Dennis.
Peg, I grew up in Poland Skill Lake, which is in Stillwater and living at a lake community as a kid. It was fantastic because back then, in the 70s, as soon as you could learn to ride your bicycle, you were told to go out and play and be back at dinnertime.
This is Clark Fredericks describing what he remembers of his childhood.
So myself and all the kids at the lake community would go down to the lake. There was basketball courts, tennis courts. There was jungle gyms. There was the beach in the lake. And you could fish and skip rocks. All those activities were wonderful. And you were just told to be going to have fun. And if you came home dirty, that meant knew you had a good time.
Clark's early years were apparently happy ones as he enjoyed the freedom of playing in a small lake community. And as you heard earlier, Dennis Peg was good friends with Clark's parents. My earliest recollection is that Dennis Pegg was always around our family. I can't pinpoint the first time I met him, but from age five six, he was around our family and he became entrenched with our family. By my older brother's involvement in the Boy Scouts, I had an older brother and I had a next door neighbor who was my brother's best friend, and the two of them joined the Boy Scouts.
And from their involvement in the Boy Scouts, their scoutmaster, Dennis Pegg, befriended our family.
Not only was Dennis close with the Fredriks, but he was also someone that Clark admired.
Dennis was a sort of hero figure of mine next to my father. I respected him the most. He was a lieutenant in the local sheriff's department. He wore a badge. He always carried a gun. He was a big, hulking man. And he was just someone that I idolized and looked up to.
Clark's childhood was one that anyone might envy. He had loving parents. He lived in a beautiful lake community. He was free to go bike riding and play with his friends. And he had a strong role model in local police officer Dennis Pegg. Clark seemed poised for a healthy and nurturing early adolescence, but that would start to change.
In the summer of nineteen seventy two.
I was born with a hole in my heart and my parents were so proud of me for surviving open heart surgery that they would have me lift my shirt and show all their friends the scar I had and their friends would all have to give me a quarter. The summer of my seventh year of life, everyone had been outside in the backyard and I came upstairs to get a glass of iced tea and to watch TV for a few minutes. There was a knock at the door and I heard Denis's loud, booming voice say Hello, anyone home?
And I bounded up out of my chair, all excited to see him. And he asked me, Where is everybody? And I said, they're all out back. And he said, What are you doing? And I said, I'm watching TV. He said, Let's sit. And he sat down on our couch and he said, Hey, I got a corner on me, little buddy. How about you show me your scar? And without hesitation, I lifted my shirt and he's looking at my scar and he gives me a quarter and he says, I've never seen a scar like yours.
How about I give you a dollar and you let me touch it? And I said, Sure. Dentist says, I'm holding my shirt up to my chest. Dennis takes too many fingers and starts rubbing them up and down my open heart surgery scar. And he said, Is your stomach sore from the surgery at all? And I said, no, not at all. And I said, listen, this is our little secret. Don't you tell anybody that I touched your scar and you can't keep a secret.
We won't be able to be friends. And I said, sure, dad, I can keep a secret. They said, all right, I'm going out back to see the rest of the film. In this particularly creepy and brief interaction, Dennis Pegg had planted what would become a secrecy pact between himself and a young, impressionable Clark, a pact that would only grow stronger as Clark grew older at the time, he touched my open heart surgery scar and made me swear to secrecy that I wouldn't tell anybody.
It seemed that every encounter we had was another secret that he would ask me to keep. He would come by and instruct, and I would go running over to him and he would say, hop in my truck a little buddy. And he had a six pack of blood in there and be like, here, have a beer. And again, he would be like, this has to be just a secret between you and me. And I'll stick it in my mind how unbelievably cool it was to drink a beer with a sheriff's officer at age nine.
The last thing I wanted to do was ruin that and tell anybody about it.
Dennis had begun giving nine year old Clark alcohol testing the limits of Clark's ability to keep secrets, and it wouldn't stop there.
Dennis one day said that a friend of his had just bought a farmhouse and they were clearing it out and getting ready for the friend to move in. And there was an old desk in the farmhouse. Dennis was all excited, said I opened up the drawers of the desk and it was filled with nude pictures. I brought some of them with me and I was all excited to see naked women and he took out a bunch of Polaroid pictures. There had to be at least a dozen and it was all close ups of penises.
And I said to him, Dad, where's the naked women? And he's like, Oh, those must have been in the other drawer. I said I said, I want to I want to see the naked women. He's like, all right, bring those next time and again. This was the secret we had to keep. And this went on and on and on. Seemed like every encounter was a secret. And unfortunately, I was great at keeping secrets back then.
Dennis was Clark's scout leader. And if you've been keeping up with the latest headlines about Boy Scouts of America, you probably have some sense of where the story is going. Well, fair warning. It's about to get worse, a lot worse.
Dennis said to me that he was my mentor and that if I had any questions with the Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts or any of the requirements, that I should come to him and even know. And one of the requirements is that you have to learn how to tie knots. And I said to Dennis one day down at the dam that I needed help learning how to tie knots. And this was around age 11. They said, all right, let's get your bicycle thrown in the back of my truck and we'll go to my house and have a beer and I'll teach you how to tie knots.
I said, great, then let's go. And we went over there. And this time, instead of just giving me beer, he gave me a tumbler full of BlackBerry brandy, had me chug the brandy.
If you've never tasted it, BlackBerry brandy is sweet with an almost cough syrup like aftertaste. It's a fortified wine and can contain anywhere between 30 to 60 percent alcohol. It's also pretty easy to get drunk off of, especially if you're an 11 year old and some sick Petto police officer is making you chug it.
He said to me, I want to play a game with you. And he called it pumping logs. And he got up and he excused himself to his bedroom for a few minutes. When he came back, it looked like he had stuck something into it, shorts. It was sticking out. He said, stand up. And he started pulling me into him, poking me with what was in his shorts. And he said to me, Your log isn't ready.
We're bumping logs, but your log isn't ready yet. Sit down on the chair and I'm going to get you ready. And I sat down on his kitchen chair that I said, close your eyes, I'm going to get you ready. And I close my eyes. And in a flash, Dennis pulled my shorts down and began performing oral sex on me. And I opened my eyes against his wishes, and he had his penis in his hand jerking off as he was performing oral sex.
There isn't a word in the English language or any language for that matter, disgusting enough to describe a man that would do this to an eleven year old boy as best he could.
Clerk tried to put this traumatic event out of his mind, but unfortunately, Dennis wasn't finished with Clerk Dennis for a few weeks.
I devised a plot that he needed my helping hand and for weeks he was telling me about needing my help. This is the summer after I graduated elementary school sixth grade, and he found me down at the lake. One day he said, Let's go over to my house. And I said, short. Then I had been back to his house since he performed oral sex on the. Going back to the house, I was very anxious, I didn't know how to tell this guy no, I still wanted to trust him and we got there and I remember his house was boiling.
It seemed hotter inside than it was outside. He had me drink two glass tumblers of BlackBerry brandy. He gave me a couple Budweisers on top and I was instantly blitzed. And his plot that he wanted my help with led us to his spare bedroom. And from it being so hot in his house, he said, Let's just take our shorts off and our shirts off. And he slipped my shorts off and my shirt off and he got behind me.
It had me in a bear hug so I couldn't move my arms. I felt like I was in a straight jacket and he began raping me and I screamed in pain. I screamed fear. And when he was raping me, it felt like there was no God. I felt completely alone with just this evil entity raping me. No one heard my screams, no one heard my cries. Nobody came to help this little 12 year old boy. And I cried and I screamed in this animal, this tenet of the local sheriff's department, this scoutmaster whispers in my ear as I'm crying and screaming, just another minute.
Just another minute.
If you don't already have enough contempt for this rapist piece of shit, you're about to. After what had been the longest minute of Clark's life, Dennis Peg ensured that his incomprehensibly disgusting act was kept a secret.
This animal finally finished Steed. As he cleaned me up, he sat me down, opened another beer for me. Dennis had a dog, which is called the Coon Dog. And Coon dogs have a long, drawn out bark. And Dennis dog heard my cries and had started howling and would not stop. And Dennis got the dog into the kitchen where I sat and he began beating with his giant fists, this poor dog, and he beat the dog and beat the dog.
And I'm screaming at Dennis and trying to please stop because I felt responsible for that dog because it was only barking because of my cries. And Dennis beat the dog unconscious in front of me. Whether it lived there died after that moment, I have no idea. And to me that felt worse than the rape that just occurred because I felt responsible for that dog. And that has told me if you open your mouth about what just occurred here, that's what will happen to you.
After watching Dennis beat a dog unconscious or perhaps to death with his bare hands. Twelve year old Clark did as he was told. He kept silent. Once you've had enough of murder and mayhem and destruction and violence, you need a palate cleanser, something fun that will get your mind off. Of all the horror we talk about here, why not try our best fiends? Best Beans is the uber popular game with over 100 million downloads. It's a five star rated mobile puzzle game that is a must play.
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In the summer of nineteen seventy eight, twelve year old Clark Fredericks was raped by his Boy Scout leader, Dennis Pegg. After raping Clark, Dennis beat a dog unconscious in front of this recently graduated sixth grader, terrifying him into silence. Dennis was a cop.
Dennis betrayed me. There were no organizations back then that dealt with abused children. The only ones to go to were the cops. Dennis was a cop. The avenue was completely closed off. I didn't know who to turn to, what to do. I mean, told me they were going to keep silent. They were not going to talk about it. And so I tried to go about my life as normal as I could.
In addition to the fear that Dennis had instilled in Clark, there was also the added psychological factor that Dennis was someone Clark looked up to. In cases like this, where the abuser is a mentor or respected by the victim, the victim will often blame themselves for what happened, thinking they must have seduced their abuser somehow, as Clark held onto this trauma, feeling like he had nowhere to turn. He began looking for ways to dull his pain.
Almost immediately after, Dennis raped me at age 12. I began smoking marijuana on a weekly basis. The thought of putting any drug into my system when I was in the elementary school was completely foreign to me. Yeah, I had so much pain in her and she and I had thoughts that just coursed through my mind and I could not shut down when smoking weed wasn't enough.
Clark turned to the next best thing as I went into high school. It became easier to find alcohol and I made the switch from smoking marijuana to drinking as Clark went through high school.
He found that drinking his pain away wasn't working either. So he looked for something else.
An escape had gotten accepted into Northeastern University in Boston, Mass. And I couldn't wait to get up there and get away from everything in store. I realized in college that I had to apply myself. I couldn't abandon my studies like I could in high school, and I didn't want to not do well in college. So I applied myself and I had college down to a science. I could go to school and do studies all day long, four nights a week, and that would allow me to be a blackout drunk.
The other three nights of the week. I tried cocaine for the first time in college and I absolutely loved it.
As you know, Clark graduated from college in 1989. But what you don't know yet is that he graduated with honors. Even though Clark was abusing alcohol and cocaine, he still managed to do well academically. And this opened a rare door of opportunity.
And when I graduated, one of my professors who loved me had recommended me to Johnson and Johnson as an excellent candidate for employment.
Johnson and Johnson is a massive multinational corporation that develops medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods. It's headquartered in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and is one of the largest corporations in the United States. The typical executive at Johnson and Johnson makes about one hundred and seven thousand dollars a year.
And two weeks before I graduated, I got a call from Johnson and Johnson asking me if I'd like to come in for an interview. And I blew off and that would be a precursor for the rest of my 20s.
For many child sex abuse victims as they reach adulthood, making commitment to anything can be especially difficult being a career, a romantic relationship or a simple friendship. These types of interpersonal commitments can cause a sense of fear in the victim as they worry that their abuse will be exposed.
I couldn't commit to a career. I couldn't commit to a relationship because being in anything long term made me feel trapped and trapped is exactly how I felt. Dennis takes house, so I sabotaged career after career.
After passing up opportunities through his 20s, Clark would enter his 30s alone and unemployed and then begin working at his brother's automotive center.
He asked me if I wanted to come work for him and not having anything else to do. At the time, I said sure, I bought a Harley. I had hooked up with a bunch of guys who were like myself driving, some who like the snort cocaine, all who like to drink. And we would spend our time drinking, doing coke. I was living the life as fast and as hard as I possibly could, and I constantly trying to outrun my pain.
Clark went through his 30s at breakneck speed, all the while abusing drugs and alcohol to numb the pain caused by his rapist, Dennis Peg.
And when he arrived at his fortes. He crashed going into my 40s, I have learned since that those who have suffered childhood abuse suffer from PTSD and I didn't know I suffered from PTSD, but in my 40s, my PTSD kicked in and I fell into a huge depression.
Late onset depression can be found to be one of the most common long term symptoms among child sex abuse victims.
After years of negative self thought, victims usually develop extreme feelings of worthlessness, resulting in a deep state of depression in their 40s or 50s, having no coping skills.
Facing this huge depression every day, I found myself replacing coffee in my coffee mug with wine, and that's how I would start my day driving to work with a alcoholic beverage, thinking that would cheer me up when simply trying to get through my day was too exhausting. My mind told me a little bit of cocaine just to get us through our day wouldn't be so bad. So I began doing that.
For Clark, alcohol and cocaine were no longer limited to his off time and recreation. They'd become part of his everyday routine. And one day, while working at his brother's automotive center, he herniated disc in his back.
I went to see a doctor and he prescribed me 30 Vicodin pills and I ate these 30 pills in a few days and I felt like Superman. I felt like 18 years old again. I called him up after four days and I said, Doc, those pills worked wonders. I need more. He's like, that was way too quick. He goes, I'll prescribe you 10 more, but that's it. Well, ten more was going to do much for me, and that was simply unacceptable.
I didn't go doctor shopping for my pain pills. I went out on the street and thus began a six year long pain pill addiction throughout class life, it seemed that one bad habit turned into 20 more.
And at the age of forty five, ten months before the murder of Dennis Peg, Clark had an unexpected run in with someone from his past.
I stopped at a quick check deli to get a cup of coffee, and as Andy crossed the aisle and making my coffee, the front door opens and I automatically look up and comes walking Dennis bag. Dennis takes me and calls out to me like we're best friends in the world. Hey, Clark, this is not the first time I've seen Dennis since he raped me. I've run into Dennis throughout the years, but it's 30 years plus since he raped me.
It had been 10 years since I had last encountered and unaware of what was different this time, because I'm trailing in right behind him, coming through the door as a young boy about the age that he raped me. And that young boy called Dennis, the same nickname that he had insisted I call him when I was that age.
The nickname that Clark understandably wouldn't say is Danny.
I heard that nickname and I instantly went into a panic attack and I felt myself starting to stiffen up like I was paralyzed. That's what happened to me when I was a child. And Dennis Quest, things that I froze. I became paralyzed with fear. That's also what I hated about myself, that I didn't do more when he touched me, killed me. All these years, I didn't find out. In a year that same feeling is coming upon me.
And Dennis is starting to make his way towards me to shake my hand a pat on the back to hold me. Who knows?
What is it about child rapists that pretend like they're best buds with their victims when their victims become adults?
Before he gets to that coffee island, I leave everything behind and run past. Yeah, I'm on my way out. I jump in my truck, I bleed out of the parking lot, and as I drive down the road, I start cursing and I start punching my steering wheel. I start spitting in my truck and all the pain from my childhood is now ripped open and seeing the young boy next to him, knowing that the same fate awaits that young boy that awaited me as it already happened, I thought, is it going to happen today?
Is it going to happen tomorrow?
And my life crumbled after that encounter that day after this run in with Dennis Clark crossed the final threshold into the world of drugs and he began doing something he had promised himself he would never do. He started using heroin soon after he quit his job. And on the morning of June 12th, twenty twelve, the day before being arrested for murder. But unemployed, alcoholic, drug addict. And child abuse victim Clark Frederik's awoke in his bed as I got up out of bed, I noticed I had left a huge four inch line of coke on my dresser.
I started that up. I made a beeline for the kitchen where I made Hocker orange juice. I got back to bed and put the TV on the news. It was the start of the Jerry Sandusky molestation trial.
In case you don't know, Jerry Sandusky is a former Penn State football coach.
In 2011, he was arrested and charged with over 50 counts of sexual abuse of underage boys over a 15 year period.
His trial was covered extensively on television, and in 2012, he was sentenced to between 30 and 60 years in prison.
And I saw him get out of his lawyer's car. And when he did, all I could see was Dennis Peck yelled curses at the TV. And I. I wrapped my arms around myself, hugging myself and just rocking back and forth in my bed.
After seeing a particularly smug Jerry Sandusky on TV, Clark left his home and spent a day drinking, hopping from one local bar to another.
Later that night, I stopped at an Italian restaurant and I was having a glass of wine at the bar. I noticed sitting at a table was a guy who had burned me on a business deal years earlier and I hadn't encountered him since. And I went up to his table. We had words. He told me to fuck off. I left that restaurant fuming. I was supposed to meet a friend of mine at my house who was going to power, wash and stain the sighting of my house and he was coming over to drop off the equipment.
That friend's name was Bob Rennolds.
Bob Rennolds arrived at Clarkes home that evening after unloading the power wash equipment. The two of them had a friendly conversation and Clark's kitchen over a few lines of coke and many glasses of wine.
And I told him about my encounter with the guy who had burned me the business deal. And Bob said to me, that guy has to be number one on your hit list. And before I could stop the words coming out of my mouth for the first time in my life, I revealed to someone about the molestation and rape I suffered as a child. The words instantly came out of my mouth. Actually, he said no to the scumbag who raped me as a child.
This No. One.
After hearing this, Bob had a few questions. Once you got past confirming that Clark was being serious, Bob asked Clark, who had raped him and where they lived, whether it was Bob's decision or mine.
We both decided that we would go confront this peg. I told Bob what a gun fanatic he was, and I said, to protect ourselves, we ought to take something. I gave Bob a steak knife out of the kitchen drawer and I went into my bedroom and under my bed was my hunting knife when I was 12 years old.
As it turns out, Clark's hunting knife had sentimental value as a Christmas gift.
One year, Dennis Peck bought me a stone and oil knife, sharpening and sitting at our house over a glass of eggnog. Dennis taught me how to get the perfect blade on my hunting knife. And that's the one thing I did throughout my entire life, was keep that knife with a perfect blade.
Armed with a perfectly sharpened hunting knife, Clark got into Bob's band and together they drove to Dennis Pegg's home. Dennis Fig was a shill for the county. He had a badge, a gun in authority. A pillar of the community. I was 12 years old when he met me while I was just a boy. Now I'm on. The man is going to take the law into my own hands. Yes, ma'am. Well, yeah, they've come in for what you did.
You are the love. I was just a kid. Yeah, I'm on. After leaving Denis's house that night, Clarke returned home, now a murderer, he was convinced that his life was over. So Clarke woke up his mother to say goodbye and told her what he had done. Then he swallowed some pain pills and went to sleep the next morning, I opened my eyes bed and I couldn't believe what I had just done. I dug my fingers into my skull and I said, Clark, you fucking idiot, you fucking idiot just flushed the rest of your life down the toilet.
It is fucking overborrow in my mind, which had complete control of me. And my mind said, if we can just get some drugs and alcohol in our system, we can come up with a game plan to get out of this. And like a lunatic, I called out to my empty bedroom. I agree. Let's do it.
Like most mornings after getting out of bed, Clark went into his kitchen and drank a glass of wine.
And I looked out the kitchen window in my road was littered with police cars. I said, You got to be fucking kidding me. They're here already. And it was at that moment where it hits you that this is really happening. Your life is really over. You're not getting out from under this. It's fucking over.
The state police arrested Clark and brought him to their barracks in Sussex, New Jersey, where they placed him in a holding cell.
One of the first people to walk into a holding cell was Lieutenant Howard Ryan. As I opened the door, he was sitting on a bench. And one of the first things I noticed was just how was he looked.
In addition to noticing Clark's demeanor, Lieutenant Ryan also noticed that Clark's left hand was badly injured. So he called the medics to treat it as a medical.
People were working on his hand. It was almost a relief on his face, like he had done something he needed to do or said something he needed to say. I just looked at him and there was something that hit me. I had a hunch. I said, look, we have you I got you six ways to Sunday. Your blood is all over that house. You don't know me. So you really have no reason to trust me. But I'm going to tell you something.
And he said, you're about to get pulled out of this holding cell and taken into a room to be interrogated by my own detectives. And I'm telling you right now, I want you to assert your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.
It's not very often that a murder suspect would get that kind of valuable advice from the police lieutenant that just arrested him. Nonetheless, Clark did as he was told, he exercised his right to remain silent and was eventually brought to a hospital to receive surgery on his hand.
After my surgery and I was taken to the Sussex County Jail, they placed me in a suicide cell and they had me in the right spot because I just wanted to die and I just wanted to find a way to kill myself.
While Clark contemplated various ways to kill himself, police continued their investigation. But the basic facts of the murder weren't complicated. The victim, however, was another story.
As in any homicide, when you are looking for suspects, you also have to look into the victim's. Clark Fredriks was kind of an open book. The Dennis Page story was something different and just the general processing of his home with his computer.
You have one guess. What do you think police found on Dennis Pegg's computers? In addition to countless photos of naked children and a Web history of repeated visits to child exploitation sites, police also found suggestive photos of Dennis, fifteen year old great nephew Dylan Pegg.
And as news of Clark's arrest became public, the state police began receiving phone calls, phone calls from other victims that had been abused by Dennis Peg.
There was a lot of people that came forward. You had multiple Boy Scouts that had been assaulted by him. You had former inmate Dennis had this kind of bizarre thing where if a young male inmate would get out of jail, he would offer them, oh, you know what? You can stay with me to get back on your feet. I think these were normally young men addicted to drugs. And Dennis said he would give them a place to live and his mentoring turned into molest.
And it was even worse than that. We found out that there were several cases through the years of suicide that occurred as a result of this case.
After discovering the photos of 15 year old Dylan Pegg on Dennis's computer, police soon learned that at age twenty one, Dylan had killed himself. And there were several other likely victims of Dennis Peg that committed suicide, all sides suggested that Dennis had, at minimum, a three decade reign of terror, which begs the question, how did he get away with what he was doing for so long?
Do you think to yourself, how in the hell did this happen? And the truth of the matter is, Dennis was sequestered up on a hill, kept to himself, except for his hunting grounds, wherever that may be. He spread himself out in all these different organizations. And what they actually were was his hunting grounds. Look at Dennis obituary that somebody wrote for me. The same I don't really know literally everything I mentioned in there as what a stellar pillar of the community was was his hunting ground.
Dennis John Peg, 68, of Stillwater, died Wednesday, June 13th, 2012. At home, Mr. Peg was a distinguished member of the New York Police Department, oter Legian. He also was a member and chaplain of the Newton American Legion Post 86, a life member and former president and vice president of the Stillwater Historical Society, an honorary citizen of Boystown, a former member of the Sierra Club and the Commandeers Club for Disabled American Veterans. For 20 years, he was a former member of Spada Kiwanis, a past president of the Nilton Lions Club, a past president of the Kitani Lions Club, a former treasurer of the North Warren Lions Club, a former member of Spada Rotary, a former county committeeman, a 15 year member of the Republican National Committee, a member of Moose International, a life member of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., a forty five year member of the National Geographic Society and a former member of the American Red Cross Association.
A longtime supporter of the Boy Scouts of America, Mr. Peg was involved with the Woodbridge troupe, a former scoutmaster for Troop 83 in Stillwater, a past scout master and assistant scoutmaster of Troop 86, as well as the committee chairman and a former Sussex Morris Council Advancement Committee chairman.
This is just a section of his obituary next to it, a happy photo of him waving.
Dennis was a pedophile. He was a predator. He was a hunter of children. And he left a nasty path of destruction behind it. And the interesting thing was, and when you say this, he got it to qualify it, but he was good at it. I know that sounds like a horrible thing to say being good at this, but he was skilled at hiding what his issue was. People like that are probably one of the greatest dangers to our society.
Obviously, Dennis was dangerous, very dangerous. His behavior is far from isolated. In fact, Dennis was a textbook pedophile.
They will endear themselves to you. They will endear themselves to the child's family. They will look for weaknesses specific, like single parents and things like that, where a parent may need additional help. The other thing they do is they put them intentionally. They put themselves in places where they're going to beat around children. You know, it begins with casual contact, begins with some wrestling around, touching and desensitising the child once the assaults begin. And then I did this and then it becomes a threat of violence.
And again, we're going back to children. So they're so impressionable and they're so frightened that oftentimes they don't say anything. It's the torment and the threat living under threat of violence or death afterwards. If you open your mouth, you know, there's some of these people don't get to get over it. And that's why we saw some suicides as a result of this. And, you know, as a law enforcement also, just as an adult, as a parent, it pisses you off because you think not just the police, adults in general, our job is to safeguard children.
How would you let the wolf into your neighborhood? And he knows basically untethered to 30 years, he's destroying people. I mean, he's just destroying lives.
Dennis infiltrated an absurd amount of community programs, many of them involving children. And even though he used his badge to mask his true nature, presenting himself as the jolly helpful local policeman, there were people in Stillwater that knew what was going on and they said nothing.
The system failed rat race in every single way. Now, here's the other side of the criminal justice system is designed to be fair as best as it can. And if nobody's going to come forward, there isn't much we can do. We can't just randomly target people and investigate it for no reason. The system only works. If you thought it was a well, it doesn't always work. Well, I can tell you one thing. It will never work if you don't speak.
It's a brave thing to do. It's a it's an extraordinarily courageous thing to do for a victim to speak out about. But if you don't, sometimes the spark never gets lit, speaking out against child abuse is the most powerful weapon we have against abusers. But for victims, speaking out is very hard. Confusion, denial, fear, shame and self blame can all play a factor in preventing a child from speaking out about their abuse.
As for Clark, he convinced himself to keep his abuse a secret pretty much immediately after it happened and a slow to get back up into his truck.
He dropped me and my bicycle off down at the dam and I just paced up and down along the river trying to understand what just happened to me. In my mind. I thought it was protecting me and it told me we do not want to talk about what just happened. Talking about it is equal to reliving it. So I sealed myself shut. It was the worst thing I could have done. At age 12, Clark locked his pain away. This would set him on a path that would lead him right back to Dennis Pegg's home.
Thirty three years later, on the night of June 12th, twenty twelve, Clark and Bob Reynolds went to confront Dennis Pegg. Bob and I parked. I grabbed my hunting knife. I jogged his driveway. His front door was open. He had a storm door which was shut. And I could see right into his living room that there Dennis sat watching TV. Instant rage started to build up within me. I walked up to a storm door. I ripped it open, breaking the hinges.
And what Dennis did next set me off to the point that it determined his fate. It's nine thirty at night. A person is standing there in his doorway who he raped as a twelve year old boy. And Dennis casually looks over his shoulder and says, Hey, how are you? I said, Hey, how am I mother fucker? Let me fucking show you how I am. And I raced across his living room and I began stabbing Adam.
He got up out of his chair. He's punching me. I'm stabbing at him. And all throughout this encounter, I was saying to him, how's it feel touching little boys now? How's it fucking feel, Dennis, to touch little boys now? And at one point, he landed a solid shot across my jaw. I yelled, you motherfucker. And I brought the knife down and I put the knife straight through my head. That hand instantly became useless, severed the ligaments and stuff.
My fingers quite continued. He had bleeding profusely and he slid down in the blood on the floor. And I knelt down. I leveled to him and I looked him in the eye and I said, It's not so fun raping little boys now, is it? Dennis and I slit his throat hearing Clark describe Dennis. His murder might fill you with a sense of justice. Maybe you feel like karma finally caught up with this animal. But for Clark, that feeling never came.
There was no joy in what I had just done to murder someone. I had to be completely broken. I had to get down to like an animal. It's not like I took a big exhale. That moment said, wow, that was fun. It was a horrific encounter. And I looked at him and I knew my life was over.
Having murdered a retired police lieutenant, Clarke now faced the justice system and one of his first stops along the way was a suicide cell. Clarke spent several weeks in that cell and would ultimately survive his thoughts of suicide, only to find that another possible threat to his life awaited him.
So after seven weeks, I was moved into general population. I was being held in the very jail where Dennis spent his twenty five year career. I thought at bare minimum, I would get the beating of my life. I thought the correctional officers take me into a room, a closet where there's no cameras. And I didn't know if I would ever walk out of that room.
Noting the obvious conflict of interest, Clarke's defense attorney filed a motion with the Sussex County Superior Court to have Clark moved to a different jail. The motion was denied. As Clarke waited for his court proceedings to move forward, unsure if or when the correction officers were planning to strike, something was happening outside the jail.
Something very interesting happened right after this became public. It was an overwhelming number of people that had just started being vocal, saying, I knew it. I knew Dennis Teg was a child molester. It was everywhere you went. And I saw something occur that I've never seen before. Within three or four days of Clark being incarcerated everywhere you drove on bumper stickers of cars, you would see bumper stickers set free Clark. There was a rallying cry community behind Clark.
I had never seen in any other crime ever. I mean, in 30 years, I've never seen that.
With the community rallying behind Clark, the Sussex County prosecutor's office was put in a delicate situation. Their first degree murder case was strong. But representing a child rapist and convincing a jury to see Dennis Peg as a victim was a tall task.
The prosecuting attorneys were put in a very difficult spot. They walk into a courtroom and go for the home run here and try to put them away for 30 years. And they go to trial at all. As a matter of fact, in this county, they realize they actually might get a not guilty verdict. They may get a jury says, I don't care what evidence you have, that guy's a child rapist. Kent is a fake. They had to look at this and and ask why.
You know, in one respect, you try and Clark Fredriks, but in another respect, you're also trying Dennis Peck as the court proceedings move forward.
Clark pled not guilty. But when you plead not guilty in a murder case, you must provide the court with a defense. In his case, Clark went with a diminished capacity defense.
Diminished Capacity contends that although the defendant admits to breaking the law, they should not be held fully liable for doing so as their mental state was impaired while the crime was being committed. The main distinction between diminished capacity and an insanity defense is that diminished capacity is a partial, negating defense.
While insanity is a complete defense in a murder case, instead of being found not guilty by reason of insanity, a diminished capacity defense usually seeks a reduced charge of manslaughter to bolster his defense. Clark met with a psychologist who developed a report on him.
This report was eventually delivered to the prosecutor's office and after the prosecutor received that report, their psychologist also read it. And he also came up with a different defense on my behalf. Instead of diminished capacity, he felt I fit in perfectly to passion, provocation, manslaughter, passion, provocation.
Manslaughter is a second degree felony.
The typical scenario of this crime is a husband coming home to find his wife in bed with another man and then immediately kills her or her lover. Motivated by anger.
The husband takes no time to think through his emotional response, but instead acts without rationalizing or reasoning. When this happens, he is considered to have a reasonable provocation for his emotional response and Clark's case.
The prosecution's own psychologist would cite Clark's run ins with Dennis seeing the Sandusky murder trial on TV.
And his conversation with Bob Reynolds says Clark's reasonable provocation, the entire process of evaluating Clark's mental state and submitting reports for his defense would take three years.
And in twenty fifteen, the Sussex County prosecutor's office offered Clark the opportunity to plead guilty to second degree manslaughter. If he refused, Clark would go to trial and face the possibility of 30 years in prison for first degree murder.
I already had three years and it was simply too risky, too irresponsible to go to trial. My lawyer said it's completely your decision. I thought about it for a few weeks and I said, let's take the plea deal.
As part of his plea agreement. Clark was required to read an allocution statement in court and confess on record to what he had endured as a child and what he had done about it. Many major news outlets were there to capture this allocution, and this would be the first time that Clark told the world he was raped as a child under those eight years old.
I was 12 years old of a sexually assaulted and raped. By June 12th, 2012, my shell cracked. I started stabbing, as I said, over and over to him. How does it feel raping little kids now? At the end, I slit his throat within the Pegg's house together with back to my house.
So all I have typically after a person confesses to murder, there are angry onlookers and crying families in the courtroom. But after Clark read his statement, something unusual happened.
Secrets revealed in the Sussex County, New Jersey courtroom. Confessed killer Clark Fredericks delivered a detailed, gut wrenching account of what he says happened to him as a child and what he did about it three decades later as he left the courtroom. This eruption of applause, they weren't applauding me because I murdered a pedophile. They were applauding me for having the courage to finally break my silence.
After pleading guilty, Clark would return to jail and await sentencing. It would be six months before his punishment was handed down. According to a recent Forbes article, working from home could transform the job market and create global competition for every role. This means that if you're an employer, you're competing with even more employers to find the very best candidates for your job. So how do you get your company and job to stand out? Start with zip recruiter by trying it free at zip recruiter dotcom monsters.
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On June 20, fiftieth Clark Fredericks pled guilty to second degree manslaughter after murdering the man that raped him as a child three decades earlier. Six months later, Clark returned to court to receive his sentence.
I went before Judge Critchley. He read a lengthy statement and he said, I believe Mr. Fredrik's only did what he did because of what was done to him as a child. He said, I intend to deliberate Mr. Fredrik's right now. I'm going to give you Fredriks the minimum five years. And I apologize for having sent him to prison for a single day.
It's not every day that a judge apologizes to a confessed murderer.
Clark's sentence of five years stirred up some controversy in Stillwater. Residents of the town tended to fall into one of two camps, the first one believing that Clark should have gone to prison at all.
People have commented that they felt I should never see a single day behind bars. And believe it or not, I have spoken many times with the prosecutor in my case. And one of the things he asked me was, what do you think your life would have been like had you gotten away with the murder? I said, look, I was already carrying one secret that was destroying my life. Am I supposed to think that now I'm going to carry the secret of murder?
I would have been dead. There's no way I could have gone through life with these two secrets.
The other camp felt that Clark sense wasn't harsh enough.
There was a lot of talk about his sentence of five years and I don't have a problem with it. I'll tell you why. Any interest in justice? I think the prosecutors did the right thing. I think they did a very, very good job. And justice was served. Clark did five years and some people are going to say, yes, but he murders. I get it. I hid it better than anybody else. I'm the guy that put it the body, but he went away.
And you know what? I think I would tell people if they criticize that, I would say when you really should look at and learn it down, there is what Clark did during his time in prison and what he's doing now.
After Clark's sentencing, he was moved to Northern State Prison in Newark, New Jersey, to serve out his remaining time. While there, he would finally begin to heal from the sexual abuse he had endured as a child.
My very first day, I'm all out of sorts. You're filled with fear going into a new place like that. You don't know what to expect. But a couple hours after I landed there, a therapist showed up at my cell and asked me to join therapy with her. And I jumped at the chance required me going to prison before I finally did therapy.
For the first time in my life, Clark's case made international headlines and as a result, people from all over the world were writing to him.
And I had people from all over the country sending me books, self-help books, meditation books, mindfulness books, yoga books. And I picked the smallest book and I figured it was small enough that I could get through it.
That book was Man's Search for Meaning by Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl.
When I read it, there was a line in there that changed my life. It ignited something in my soul. And that line was when you are faced with an intolerable situation that will not change, you must change yourself. And I said, well, my situation is not going to change anytime soon. So I have to change myself. And I dedicated myself. To reading from that point forward, to begin healing myself, begin improving myself as a person.
I read books on meditation, books on self-improvement, books on mindfulness. I read over five hundred books. I try to take something out of each book I read and apply it to myself. So my time in prison was filled with therapy, was filled with reading, and that's what I did during my incarceration.
On December 30th. Twenty sixteen, Clark was released from prison, giving him the opportunity to become a contributing member of society. And that's exactly what he did.
When I was released from prison, I saw online news about three Boy Scouts that lived in the county next to me who had filed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts and enlisted the lawyer and the law firm they were using. And I eventually called the guy. He told me he knew all about my case and he told me that I had no legal recourse against the Boy Scouts because of the way the law was written in New Jersey prior to December.
Twenty nineteen in the state of New Jersey, victims of child sex abuse only had until age 20 to file a lawsuit against an organization whereby they had been sexually assaulted by one of its members or employees. This is known as a statute of limitations.
In response, Clark became an advocate for amending the statute, and I started a meeting with senators and assemblymen and lobbyists and lawyers to urge them to adopt a new law that we can't have other clerks running around and taking the law into their own hands. Less than two years after becoming an advocate, the new bill passed unanimously into law.
This new law, which took effect on December 1st, 2019, enables child sex abuse victims to file their lawsuit all the way up to age 55 prior to taking action.
New Jersey had the shortest amount of time in the country in which child sex abuse victims could file. It now has the longest. Every state in America has its own statute of limitations for child sex abuse claims. But in February of twenty twenty, the Boy Scouts of America significantly reduced the time that victims have to file their claims against them in the entire country.
Today, the Boy Scouts of America, one of the biggest youth organizations in the country, filed for bankruptcy protection.
An unapologetic letter. The BSA says it encourages victims to come forward and file claims. But under the structure of this bankruptcy, there's a deadline and a limit to payments.
Boy Scouts of America announced that they were filing for bankruptcy on February 17th, 20 20 victims that suffered sex abuse as a result of being involved with their organization only had until November 16th, 20 20 to file a new claim.
And since the BSA had filed for Chapter 11, it has allowed them to remain in operation while raising money for a victims compensation fund, effectively stopping lawsuits from pulling funds from their existing assets.
If you're going to be an organization that is devoted to children, you have the responsibility to make sure the people you bring on to represent your organization are there solely to do your will of improving the lives of those children. The Boy Scouts failed miserably at doing that. They have kept their own secret perversion files on scoutmasters who have abused children in their ranks.
The Boy Scout perversion files are a series of documents that lists Scout leaders who have allegedly abused the children in their care.
A group of alleged victims claims the Boy Scouts of America kept secret records about leaders accused of misconduct. Called the, quote, perversion files. Attorneys say the files go all the way back to the nineteen forties and have never been shared with law enforcement. They include more than seventy eight hundred suspects in over 12000 victims.
The BSA initially resisted the release of their perversion files, but in 2012 they were forced to do so by an Oregon Supreme Court filing.
Sexual abuse against a child is a violent crime. There's no excuse for this. There's none. I don't want to hear anybody offer up any explanation when children are being victimized and the society is not stepping up and shutting it down. We failed. We failed as a society and we failed as a species. I mean, what are we doing? And the fact that we have organizations, whether it's religious groups or social groups like the Boy Scouts, and this is going on and has been perpetuated and these agencies haven't really come out.
And one admitted it taken a hit and done complete wholesale. A fundamental change to stop it from happening and prevent it from ever happening again is probably the most disturbing part. The Boy Scouts did nothing but window dressing. For decades, they did everything they could to avoid facing the fact that they had enormous problems in their ranks of pedophile scoutmasters. And it's unfortunate that it takes the Catholic Church, it takes the Boy Scouts to face a monetary loss before they finally will enact change, according to the Boy Scouts of America's own website, which encourages abuse victims to come forward.
They have, quote, developed some of the strongest expert informed youth protection policies found in any youth serving organization, unquote, though it's not made clear what those policies are exactly.
As for Clark Fredericks, after prison life went on and not long after his release, he took a job as a chef at a boathouse restaurant in his hometown of Stillwater. There, he had another unexpected run in with someone from his past.
Some years later, after the trial and whatnot, Clark had gone to prison. I was out with another friend of mine who was also in the state police when we were fishing. We wanted to stop and get a bite to eat. I happened to see this gentleman walk behind me from towards the dining room, towards the kitchen. And I said to the bartender, who I knew, I said, Who is that? That just walked into the kitchen?
And she said, that was Clark Fredericks. I thought you did me a favor. And you go in the kitchen, tell him that a guy from the state police is here and like to say hi. When he came out of the kitchen, he looked at me as sitting at the bar was none other than Lieutenant Howard. Ryan, who had come into my cell multiple times, spoke to me like a human being, treated me with empathy and compassion, and quite possibly saved my life from decades behind bars by urging me to exercise my Fifth Amendment rights and keep my mouth shut.
Without him doing that, I could have gone into that interrogation room and completely destroyed my life. He came walking. Oh, we shook hands and he gave me a big hug. And we just started talking about what he was doing and everything else. And it was funny because he almost had a little bit like not a well, maybe almost emotional. But you look he goes, I waiting to see you. I told them how much I appreciated what he did for me that day.
After this chance encounter, Clark developed a friendship with Howie Ryan and he would eventually ask the now retired lieutenant for a favor to tell you something that a lot of people that may know the story don't know that much about him personally.
Clark's a very driven and intelligent person, and he knew what he wanted to do with his life afterwards. One day as I sat in my prison cell, I heard a voice loud and clear say, you're going to be a motivational speaker. And I sort of left to myself because I had always been deathly afraid of speaking in front of an audience. I just sort of shrug my shoulders and said to myself, all right, I'm going to become a motivational speaker.
Not long after his release from prison, Clark fulfilled the instruction of his jailhouse premonition. He is now a motivational speaker. And before taking the stage, the police officer that arrested him for murder will sometimes give the introduction to what he's going to say.
It does. And it's one of the reasons and I'm very grateful for and without further ado.
I hope you can realize just how amazing what you just heard is that the guy responsible for my arrest is here as a friend introduced in his arrest, actually saved my life. My molestation was not my problem. My molestation was a teaching tool for my problem was my refusal to share that molestation with anyone.
Clark has given a speech at fundraiser events and other venues across the East Coast, including high schools, colleges and the prison where he served time.
I would hope that by speaking out about this that it brings awareness to this problem, that by speaking out, I've given the courage to other victims to speak out and to begin healing instead of taking the law into their own hands. I don't advocate for anyone murdering their abuser. Killing Dennis aspect did not end my torment. It actually added another layer to the healing I had to do.
Clark's message is clear. In order to heal, victims of sexual abuse must break their silence and speak out. But his message is not limited to abuse victims.
I think everybody, not just the victims of child sexual abuse, but everybody could learn something from Clark. Fredricka, when you think your life is tough. Take a look at his. He underwent a lot and made some very poor decisions. He came out on the other side and he came out like a champ doing the right thing for the right reasons. And I think the most important message he would send to you if you are a victim and if you know somebody who's a victim, you've got to speak up.
I've got people in too many countries to list who have reached out to me with their own stories of abuse and how me breaking my silence has given them the courage to speak up about their own abuse. He is helping people. I know it. I've seen it firsthand. I've seen people come up to him in tears and thank him for being brave enough to talk about his story. And it's giving them strength to talk about their story. And one of the things Clark said to me about the life that he lived and about the things that he endured.
Is that your silence is your worst enemy at the end of most sword and scale episodes. I like to close out with a theme or offer a moral lesson of some sort that you can walk away with. But for this one, I'm just going to hand it off to the murderer in our story. Clark Fredericks, your life doesn't have to be destroyed. You were molested. You can get therapy, you can begin healing, practice, mindfulness, practice, meditation.
These are all things I do to keep myself healthy. And that's what I urge other people to do. So to all people that listen to your podcast, if you've been abused, it's nothing to be afraid of. The only way to heal is to break your silence and to become transparent and look at yourself in the mirror and you don't like what you see and you're consumed by darkness. Trust me that if you begin healing, the inside will allow the outside to shine once again.
That does it for this episode of Soad and Scale, special thanks to Holly Celotto and Howie Ryan for their interviews, you can learn about what Howie is up to at Highland Forensic's Dotcom. And you can listen to his podcast at Under the Yellow Tape Dotcom.
And thanks to Clark Fredriks, you can find him on all social media platforms under Clark Frederik's or visit his Web site at Clark Fredriks Dotcom. Until next time. Stay safe and be a parent. Put in the time. Teach your own damn kid how to tie a knot and stay safe. Hi, my name's Andy. You can call me an asshole, I guess. I love your show. It's fantastic. And, you know, I was asked how I listen to such stark crime stories.
But, you know, I just I think you stick around and, you know, hearing all these terrible things, you know, I came from abusive situations and now that I'm in a happier place, it just keeps me grounded. Thank you. Thank you for creating the show. Thank you for all the work that goes into it. I know how much work goes into it, but thank you for keeping all of us grounded. Now, this is Kelly from Portland, Oregon, calling to help you annoy listeners and to also let you know that your podcast is my number one favorite true crime podcast.
Thanks for keeping it real. Hey, now, how you doing? Hi, Mike. This is LILIANNA. I'm here in South Florida. Yeah, Florida. And I wanted to tell you that I just joined Florida Scale Plus. I thoroughly enjoy your show. It's amazing. I listen to it almost every day and so I'm out of those. And I wanted to join the plus so I can get all the extra content. You are a lifesaver.
I have two kids and I take care of everything that goes on in the house. And I listen as I do all of my high school tap. So thank you for keeping me thoroughly entertained while I do the day to day. Thank you. Great content. Love your work. But you know what? I just got the new update on this recent episode. I'm stoked here. I just wanted to call and say I appreciate everything you do. Maybe some people don't understand the gravity of your of your podcast because I haven't gone through certain life experiences that other people have gone through.
And maybe that's why some people don't understand the content of your of your podcast. I hear a lot of people, Hayton, out there. But, you know, if you don't like it, don't listen simply. Thanks a lot. I'm of. For all you foodies out there, I'm unwrapping a McDonald's steak, egg and cheese bagel who look at this steak and the juice running down the side, get a little bit on the wrapper here. And then a fluffy egg and real cheese folded over the side, looking just so good.
Mm hmm. Grilled onions and about a bagel, two thumbs up, a McDonald's steak, egg and cheese bagel for breakfast. Love it. Bah bah bah bah. I participate in McDonald's.